Tiny Pretty Things (#1) Shiny Broken Pieces (#2)
Authors: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Published: May 26th, 2015 & July 12th, 2016 by Harper Teen
Tiny Pretty Things Summary: Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton, and the author of the highly anticipated Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet-star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever.
When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
Don’t miss the gossip, lies, and scandal that continues in Tiny Pretty Things’ gripping sequel, Shiny Broken Pieces!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for Cake Creative for Tiny Pretty Things & Shiny Broken Pieces:
The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Published October 18th, 2022
Summary: Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin’s companion book to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe explores the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic world just beneath our skin.
From Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress and Cook Prize winning author and illustrator of Your Place in the Universe comes The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey, a companion book about the very small, from the tiniest mammals to the intricate structures of microscopic organisms and subatomic particles that make up every human body. This deep dive into an unseen world explores the building blocks of all matter and life, demonstrating how much we have in common with everything around us.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Jason Chin does it again: combining impeccable illustrations with science to take the reader into the microscopic world within our universe. Chin is such a master at bringing the reader into whatever world he has decided to explore and share with us. His writing is thorough and interesting, his illustrations are detailed and labeled, and the book together is definitely the journey he promises.
What is so special about the structure of the book? Why do you think the author set the structure up this way?
What is the smallest thing in the universe? How do these small particles impact us?
How does the author make this nonfiction book like a journey?
Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: Ashley Benham-Yazdani
Published November 15th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: From the award-winning author of Before She Was Harriet comes another work of lyrical beauty, the story of Henry David Thoreau and businessman Frederic Tudor–and a changing world.
Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.
This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerators) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.
Oddball/ tax dodger/ nature lover/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Thoreau. Bankrupt/ disgrace/ good for nothing/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Tudor.
Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani’s period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor’s men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.
An Author’s Note, which explores how Thoreau’s writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included.
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces us to another aspect of Walden Pond that Thoreau fans may not know about: Tudor’s industrial side of the pond. Cline Ransome’s verse shows us the contrast between the two lives that are tied together by the pond that they both loved, for very different reasons. Beautifully written with rhythm that yells for it to be read aloud.
Benham-Yazdani’s “period accurate watercolor” reminds me of Grandma Moses which is perfect for this story!
What does the different fascinations with the pond show you about the two men?
Why do you think the author chose to write the book in verse separated by seasons?
What did you learn about the past of ice that surprised you?
Polar Bear Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: This companion book to the authors’ Sibert award-winning Honeybee explores the life and habitat of a majestic endangered species through dramatic text and sumptuous illustration.
April in the Arctic . . . Cold winds send snow clouds scuttling across the sky. Temperatures barely nudge above freezing. But every now and again, The cloud cover parts, The sun shines down, And the frozen world stretches awake.
As spring approaches in the Arctic, a mother polar bear and her two cubs tentatively emerge from hibernation to explore the changing landscape. When it is time, she takes her cubs on a forty-mile journey, back to their home on the ice. Along the way, she fends off wolves, hunts for food, and swims miles and miles.
This companion book to Honeybee and Giant Squid features the unique talents of Fleming and Rohmann on a perennially popular subject. Eric Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings feature (as in Honeybee) a spectacular gatefold of the polar landscape.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Candace Fleming’s beautiful verse introduces us to the polar bear and all of the trials and tribulations she faces with her cubs in the Arctic. Within the narrative, we learn so much information about them and their habitat. The verse adds an extra poetic element to the book that just brings it to the next leve.
Add to that Rohmann’s illustrations, and this stunning picture book sucks in the reader through word and pictures. Backmatter adds even more information through shared research and fun facts.
Why do you think that author chose to write the book in verse?
What does the gatefold add to the experience of reading Polar Bear?
What are the biggest threats to polar bears?
Why does the back matter include the statement “I’s All About the Ice?”
We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function in the Animal Kingdom Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Published January 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House
Summary: Meet nature’s most extraordinary looking creatures. But they aren’t weird!
Birds with blue feet, fish that walk, unicorns in the sea, and more! Learn how these animals’ quirks help them survive. Perfect for budding naturalists who are always ready to share a cool (or gross) animal fact.
Very hard scales protect me, and my long tongue is perfect for eating ants. When I feel threatened, I roll myself into a ball. I am a Pangolin.
See these animals’ amazing body parts in vibrant and detailed woodcut illustrations, from the thorny dragon’s spiky skin to the star-nosed mole’s twenty-two feelers. Read how these creatures’ unique traits help them thrive and survive in their environments. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and more.
With easy-to-read text vetted by an expert, this book aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards on adaptation, structure, and function for kindergarten through 3rd grade. With supplementary information on each animal’s habitat and diet.
Review:This book introduces the reader to so many different unique animals (20 of them!), featuring what makes them different than others. The text in the book is written in 1st person with interesting facts and an introduction to the animal. Additional info on each animal is on in the back matter giving even more information about the animal including their habitat and diet.
Which of the animals would you like to learn more about? Why?
Choose your own animal to research and write an introduction, in 1st person, highlighting the animal’s uniqueness and interesting facts.
What is similar about all of the animals’ unique features?
The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow Author & Illustrator: Margaret Peot
Published December 6th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: With a striking glow-in-the-dark cover, this intriguing science book invites young readers to find light all around.
Sun shines. Stars twinkle. Aurora borealis glimmers.
Dramatic paintings of lightning, fire, fireworks and more introduces the sources of light–both natural and manmade–and encourage children to look around and observe.
Kids will gasp in surprise at the beautiful glow-in-the-dark cover, and the bold spreads within. Margaret Peot’s distinctive art style captures the elusive nature of light. Bioluminescent squid, fireflies and phytoplankton reveal light sources in living things. Fireworks and light bubbles sparkle on the page.
This foundational science book will kindle curiosity in physical science and the natural world. The simple text makes science accessible to all ages.
Toddlers will delight in the colorful art at storytime. As they grow, kids will return to this nonfiction favorite and discover new ideas each time. Science vocabulary and definitions are included in the back of the book.
An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Review:This beautifully illustrated book with sparse text gives an introduction to light in science including natural sources of light, bioluminescence, and artificial light. All of the animals, nature, and items in the book are tied together by the light that they make.
The author’s backmatter adds even more depth to the text by sharing more information on the different types of light, a bibliography, and websites to learn more.
What are the differences between the three types of light shared in the book?
Which of the types fascinates you the most?
How does bioluminescence work?
**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing copies for review!**
Promise Boys Author: Nick Brooks Published: January 31, 2023 by Macmillan
Goodreads Summary: The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying in Nick Brooks’s Promise Boys, a trailblazing, blockbuster mystery about three teen boys of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names—for fans of Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Karen McManus.
“A brilliant pulls-no-punches mystery with bruised hearts at its core.” —Adam Silvera, #1 New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End
“Thrilling, captivating, and blade-sharp. Promise Boys will stay with you long after the last page.” —Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying
The Urban Promise Prep School vows to turn boys into men. As students, J.B., Ramón, and Trey are forced to follow the prestigious “program’s” strict rules. Extreme discipline, they’ve been told, is what it takes to be college bound, to avoid the fates of many men in their neighborhoods. This, the Principal Moore Method, supposedly saves lives.
But when Moore ends up murdered and the cops come sniffing around, the trio emerges as the case’s prime suspects. With all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. But is the true culprit hiding among them?
Ricki’s Review: After reading this book, I adopted it for my young adult literature class this semester. This required me to a) change my book order–which makes several people annoyed, b) adjust my syllabus and move sections around, and c) message the campus book store that, yes, I know that the book isn’t out yet, but I still want them to pre-order it.
I say all of this to demonstrate how much I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of Monster by Walter Dean Mayes a bit in the topic. Three teenage boys are all suspected of murdering their principal. The book is written from the different perspectives and allows the reader to explore any biases they might hold about teenage boys of color. It is set in a very strict school that thinks that hyper discipline will fix kids. This is an important book. I am so glad it exists, and I can’t wait to discuss it with my students.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might use this book for students to analyze the rules that come with their schools and within other systems. They might then write narratives related to the rules that they perceive.
When you were reading the book, who did you think did it?
Why does the school use discipline? What are their assumptions?
What did you learn from this book?
Flagged Spreads: “Rumor has it a student brought a gun to school the day of the murder. You didn’t hear that from me.”
K is for Kindness Author: Rina Horiuchi Illustrator: Risa Horiuchi Published: April 26, 2022 by Viking Books
Goodreads Summary: Debut author/illustrator and sister duo have crafted a sweet ABC book that expresses how kindness can be found anywhere.
Ape picks an apple for Aardvark below. Bat puts a bandage on Brown Bear’s big toe.
From aardvark to zebra, this delightful cast of animal characters illustrates the many ways to show kindness to others, while teaching the youngest readers their ABCs.
Debut author/illustrator and sister duo Rina Horiuchi and Risa Horiuchi have crafted a warm and tender gift that affirms kindness can be found anywhere.
Ricki’s Review: This book is just so charming. It is a great way to learn the alphabet along with all of the ways that we can be kind. The book doesn’t feel didactic, and it was enjoyable for me, as an adult reader. There aren’t just simple animal names on each page, but instead, they read like this: ““Narwhal takes Newt, his new neighbor, to lunch.” The repetition is really helpful for young readers. I’ve been having my 6-year-old read it to my 3-year-old, and it makes my heart swell. I love the ending, in which readers are asked how they are kind—this allowed for some great discussions in our house.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book inspires me to want to choose an emotion or an abstract concept to make my own alphabet book! Kids would have a lot of fun making a shared book together!
Which page was your favorite, and why?
How do you demonstrate kindness?
How do the pictures and words work together to create a vivid representation of kindness?
**Thank you to Rina and Risa for this phenomenal book! It is a great addition to children’s literature!**
The Little Bad Book 2: Even More Dangerous
Author and Illustrator: Magnus Myst
Published October 11, 2022 by Delacorte Press
Summary: In this second book in the Little Bad Book interactive series, young readers will be dared to solve tricky puzzles and funny riddles and to become part of the plot in eerily funny stories in order to reveal the Little Bad Book’s secret!
HEY, YOU! PSSST You might not believe this, but I’ve discovered the biggest secret in the world. Yes, honestly! Should I tell you? Okay. Just be careful! It will be the scariest thing you’ve ever read! I hope you can take it. Can you I bet you can. You’re brave, aren’t you? Do you dare to read me? Come on–do it–read me!
You are the lucky reader who can discover the secret the little bad book is willing to share. The puzzles and riddles will challenge you, but it is definitely worth it! Go ahead and take a chance! You are the baddest one there is!
Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This interactive book enraptured both of my children (ages 6 and 9). The book breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. I particularly appreciated the ways in which the book treats the reader as smart, capable people with agency. It also has that mild element of horror that really captures kids’ attention. This is a book that will be well-loved by the most avid readers and will hook readers who don’t typically fall in love with books. It’s extremely accessible. As a parent and teacher, I particularly loved how it tricks kids into math, reading comprehension, and logic puzzles. I was hooked (or tricked), as well. 🙂
Read This If You Love: Interactive activity books filled with fun and educational activities
**Thank you to Cate from Nicole Banholzer Public Relations for providing copies for review!**
Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm”
Author: Tonya Bolden
Forward by: Stacey Abrams
Published January 4th, 2022 by National Geographic Kids
Summary: From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.
Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.
Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.
Praise: “The strength of Bolden’s skill as a researcher is evident; chapter by chapter, she provides succinct but critical context around the motivations and movements of Chisholm’s political career. A foreword by Stacey Abrams helps establish that Chisholm’s legacy is one of political innovation as someone who forged a path for others to follow. This informative book has an engaging narrative structure. The use of repetition and inclusion of memorable pearls of wisdom attributed to Chisholm add a poetic tone. An insightful and focused profile of a political trailblazer.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This lively, detailed look at Chisholm’s personal and political life shines in its portrayal of a strong woman who never backed down; Bolden’s accessible text is great for report writers covering the groundbreaking Chisholm and the momentous time she lived in.” —Booklist
About the Author: Tonya Bolden has authored, edited and co-authored more than 40 books. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor, the James Madison Book Award, the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor, the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and the Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award. Lauded for her skilled storytelling, impeccable research and lively text, Tonya lives New York City.
Review:Tonya Bolden’s biography of Shirley Chisholm is a perfect mix of historical remembrance as well as narrative structure to pull the reader in. You follow Shirley’s life as she goes against all odds and fights her way through politics, all while never losing her morals or remembrance of where she came from. As someone who knew of Chisholm but not specifics and boy, is she phenomenal! I highly recommend reading this book to learn more about this pioneer of civil and feminist rights.
Also, I read this book at the right time for me. As a Floridian going through an election, a reminder of hope is always needed. And Shirley Chisholm, her fight and success, and resilience shows that there have always been times to fight and there are always others that need to fight more.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This biography will be perfect for updating nonfiction sections of libraries. Additionally, it would be a wonderful book club choice or lit circle choice when focusing on HERstory or true history.
Summary: Squeakers, butt puffs, trumpets and “the destroyer”. Celebrate farts in all their hilarious, honking glory!
Con-fart-ulations! You’ve found the book that confirms your fine appreciation for the fact that nothings funnier than a little pfffftt from someone’s butt. Cheerfully over-the-top, packed with activities, and grounded in the science of flatulence, What a Blast! Is a trip through the body’s digestive system to explore the whys, hows, and wherefores of farting. You’ll discover the fartiest food in the world, meet infamous farters from history, learn just what to say if you fart in public—“Yeah, you heard me!—and so much more!
Have fun with farts!
Solve the question of who farted?
Discover your gastrological sign.
Play free the fart through an intestinal maze.
Learn how to make elbow farts, hand farts, and armpit farts.
Throw a farty party.
And get creative with funny fill-in stories, like a fart to remember
Ricki’s Review: I should really get my three sons to review this book. They have had such a blast (pun intended) doing the workbook. Parents and teachers, if you want to get kids excited about reading and writing, this book will do it. I can’t tell you how many giggles this book has brought our family. I have to admit that I even giggled behind my hand. I can’t recommend this workbook highly enough—it is cleverly crafted and full of amazing reading and writing opportunities for kids. It has open-ended questions, quizzes, brackets, puzzles, games, etc.
**Thank you to Claire and Ivanka from Workman for providing a copy for review**